Myanmar Violence: LWF Suspends Some Activities

IDP children at Say Tha Mar Gyi Camp in Rakhine State. Photo: LWF Myanmar
IDP children at Say Tha Mar Gyi Camp in Rakhine State. Photo: LWF Myanmar

By Roland Schlott

Acts of violence directed at international organizations in Rakhine state, western Myanmar on 26 March have directly affected the LWF. As a result, our Myanmar program has evacuated its staff from the regional capital of Sittwe to the national capital Yangon. Both our national and international employees are safe, but we have temporarily suspended our operations in Sittwe and in Rakhine state until further notice.

Our office premises in Sittwe were among several that were attacked by a mob that was moving from one international organization office to the next. They stoned our office, ripped out and completely removed the gate and fence. They entered and ransacked the place, and damaged furniture, equipment and files.

We are deeply concerned about the impact this violence would have particularly on the people we serve. We remain committed to resume our work in camp coordination and management, education, fire safety and psychosocial support to the 20,000 IDPs that we support in four of the camps in Sittwe township.

We are in regular contact with our staff, who are following advice and updates provided by the UN humanitarian coordination office in Myanmar, and from government security offices.

Our work in Myanmar began in 2008 as a cyclone emergency response in the Ayeyarwaddy Delta. Today, we support rural communities with initiatives that help increase food security, improve water, sanitation and hygiene, reduce the risk of disaster, and promote human rights.

Mr Roland Schlott is the DWS program officer for Asia.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.